Category: News

07 Apr 2012

The gaming is on the front page

giornaliIt is an increasingly protagonist of press and of television, radio and online journalism. For better or for worse. In the articles that illustrate the vices and virtues, but also in the advertising pages (commercials or banners or whatever you want) that more and more politicians would to forbid or at least to regulate, in the content and/or in the speading, in a more convincing way than now.

But how information about gaming is evolving, especially in the so called “general-interest” press, the one that turns to million of people?And it is a “correct” information, or ruined by prejudices and misinformation?Let’s speak the operators of the field, starting from Enzo Iacopino, national president of the Association of Journalists.
During last months the game with cash prizes is the subject of a press campaign and of varoius press reports, on the newspapers and on the television: why, in your opinion, this increased attention?
“I can not say in a scientific way from what it results, because I haven’t studied the subject, but I have the feeling, as a citizen rather than as a journalist, that the attention of the society on this matter is considerably increased, so the newspapers report this fact and follow it. Sometimes, as happens also in other fields, not with the strictness that would be necessary. And this leads to the danger that negative messages can be send, for example if we emphasize the fact that somebody won playing ten euros and that just gaming can completely change our life, rather than being a tool that brings a benefit to the State, when of course we talk about regular gaming!”

On the whole what do you think is the current image of gaming that is described by the general-interest press?
“When somebody writes what I said before is true that we run the mentioned danger, but honestly these are not bad news and I think that this need to give good news is not negative. But I think that  we should not follow the trends about this matter and that we must realize the danger to convey negative stimulus to the people. Moreover, often the press talks about the lawlessness and it is true that the crime, which aims to do business, can be interested in  legal gaming: the crime always tries to lay its hands on where there are significant economic benefits. But emphasizing the danger of money laundering just in the legal gaming field it seems to me a little bit funny. Everybody knows that the percentages of winning are to the detriment of the player and the crime is educated, probably it tries to launder money in the illegal gaming! Moreover the interest of some families of the Mafia in the business of videopoker (and not of the legal slots) is confirmed by various judicial inquiries.”
From several directions people is asking for limiting or abolishing the gaming advertisement, do you agree with the “prohibitionist” planning in general and, in particular, in this case?

“If we really want to abolish the gaming advertisement, then really abolish it, even the one on tobacco. We know very well that it is formally forbidden but also that companies found some loopholes to avoid it. Or, then, why we don’t forbid also the alcohol advertisement? When I still had the joy of having some free time, for years I gave a hand to Don Mario Picchi, the first priest to brought in Italy the experience of the therapeutic communities for the drug addicts. During a conference a guy made us an objection: you fight a lot against drugs, but do you know how many people die from alcohol? If the State has to deal with the mental damages, he has to deal also with the physical ones, because every year there are thousand of deaths from alcohol abuse. But of course I am ready to consider any objection and comment for or against this prohibition on gaming advertisement. This is the land of the know-all people, but I don’t want to be one of them: these are my opinions, and now I am speaking more as a private citizen then as president of the Association of Journalists.”

 

 

07 Apr 2012

Gaming strategies in order to survive in a lean period

mondo_maniIn 2011 the Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC) made a research on how the slump of 2008-09 affected the gambling of the most important markets of the world. From the data collected we can deduce that the gaming world, unlike  what many people believe, is not exempt of the deterioration of the economic scene.

In short, the research of the GBGC highlighted that the field of amusement machines is dynamically most suitable to overcome a negative economic cycle because the decrease of the field is limited. Moreover, the field quickly raises again with the improvement of the economic scene.

In front of an economic development, generally the sports betting have rate of growth much higher than other gaming fields. The decrease tends to be more marked when the income at the disposal of the players decreases but the recovery is faster when there is an economic growth and the consumer’s feeling improves.

The field of lotteries, on the contrary, tends to resist during the economic slumps, as sales goes down not much. However, when the economic situation improves, even in a strong way, the lottery sales grow only at a moderate rate.

The field that suffers more than any others, during an economic slump, is the land based casino. The casinos are the ones that lose the biggest revenue when the economy suffers, and are the slowest ones in the recovery when the economy recovers.

Following up the research, the question is the following one: “Which are the strategies of the various gambling operators during the slump periods?”. The question is particularly relevant for the operators in Europe. Apart from Germany and the Scandinavian countries, the income at disposal of the families of all the European countries has worsened in 2011 and it will continue to worsen until at least 2013. The research of GBGC wants to analyze the strategies of the operators to overcome the lean periods.

William Hill (WH), the British giant on sports betting, in 2011 increased its sales both on its stores and on the online operations. Active players on the online part increased from 1.34 million to 1.40 million, an increase of 5%. At the same time, the yield per player increased from 187 pounds to 228 pounds, an increase of 22%, considering the decline of the income at disposal of the English people, the result is quite amazing. However, the number of new customers has decreased from 808 000 in 2010 to 790 thousand in 2011. In addition, the acquisition expense for each new customer increased of 43%, from £75 to £108. In fact, the marketing budget for the sole online field rose from £61 million to almost £86 million, an increase of 40%. So the WH made two bets, and it won both of them. The first one was that new customers will spend more money than WH needed to acquire them, and the second one that the acquired customers would increase their “spend”. How did it do? Mainly increasing the channels and the applications that clients can use to play and wager, it adopted a strategy of “cross selling”, that is to say it launched promotional activities and games that involve both the shops and the online customers, it turned the sports wagerer in poker, casino and bingo players. This fact allowed the increase of collection for each player. Furthermore, the effort to expand the gaming channels to include the smart phones gave good results, in 2011 the collection by mobile phones has increased over 500%.

IG Index, which is skilled in betting on the financial market, the spread betting, has just released its  results for the third quarter (in England the financial year ends on  March 31). The bets of the IG customers in Europe decreased of 18% compared with the same period in 2010, but the turnover increased of 4.2% with the increase of the number of customers of 26.7%. Unlike WH, the IG didn’t acquire customers by increasing its own marketing budget, but making some investments on the technological platform (a platform rich in information that allows instant payments) and offering more innovative services, such as the new Insight program, which allows customers to analyze, for free, various financial markets. The IG, as the WH, has also invested to enable its customers to bet with the mobile phones like iPhone and iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry.

The use of technology to acquire and keep customers also generates highly innovative products.

Advant Games, a Finnish software company that provides services for the operators, developed a product called TiltCtrl. The software enables operators to detect and prevent the tilt of online poker players, that is to say, induced by frustration the players start to play more money and this leads them to lose a big amount of money in a short time. Following the tilt, players usually change site and the short time gain for the operator turns into a long term loss. This technology allows to keep the customer  for a long time and it goes well with the policy of playing responsibly.

A well-proven strategy is the sponsorship, especially in sports. Bwin is perhaps the forerunner of this strategy, being the sponsor of important football teams such as the AC Milan and the Real Madrid. But Betfred, the third English bookmaker after WH and Ladbrokes, become the sole partner of Kitbag.com. Kitbag.com is an English  successful firm selling sport products online. The idea is clever because the people   who enter in the Kitbag websites already have the credit card in their hands.

There are also some strategies that can be defined as “reactive” ones. The Spanish casinos for example have been very damaged by the hard economic situation, in 2009 they lost 14% and in 2010 9.5% of the takings from gaming. In 2010 the per capita expence on gambling decreased of 7.3%, compared with 2009. From 2007 to 2010 the casino’s customers increased by 30%, but at the same time the takings  of entrance fees (you pay to enter in the casino in Spain) decreased of 14%. It’s clear that the casinos decided to diversify the services they offer to the customers by offering discos, restaurants and bars, and someone even organizing weddings.

05 Mar 2012

The whole world of Spielo International at Enada Spring

SPIELO-International_original_CYMK-300x60Spielo International will be showing its top content-driven solutions at the Lottomatica Booth at Enada Primavera 2012 in Rimini from March 13-16. As a leading supplier in the new Italian Vlt market, Spielo International is showing no less than 22 compelling new Vlt game titles to suit every player’s taste. Based on careful research of Italian player preferences, games like Neptune’s Bonus AdventureTM, Freekick DeluxeTM, Swingin’ BellsTM, and Crank’s BashTM demonstrate the breadth and depth of our entertaining Vlt game content.

Spielo International’s market-leading Italian Awpsolutions will also be featured at both the Lottomatica booth, as well as the booth by Marim, our Italian Awpdistributor. Highlighted Awp games include Mighty MinerTM, featuring the SuperplayTM function never before seen in the Italian Awp space. Offering 243 ways to win, Mighty Miner provides an exciting horizontal Expanding Wild function. Also unique to the Italian Awp market, Pirates CoveTM layers the fun with super stacks, where the wild symbol has a surrounding wild function.

 

Other brand-new Awp game titles include The Big EasyTM, as well as Lucky FruitsTM, an easy-to-play classic fruit game offering left-to-right and right-to-left wins.

The latest edition to our thrilling Awp multigame suites, MyChoice Edizione VerdeTM offers five great games in one cabinet, as does its predecessor, MyChoice Edizione AzzurroTM.

Visitors will also see demonstrations of new Awp core games, including our perennial top-performing SphinxTM title. Meanwhile, the deliteTM cabinet exclusively offers Spielo International’s Awp multigame suite and is designed for the ultimate multigame experience. delite’s slim form factor and robust engineering make it ideal for placement on your floor, attracting players with its streamlined, casino-style look. The dual 18.5-inch widescreen touch displays give players the ability to really enjoy the sleek touchscreen interface of My ChoiceTM.

Featured commercial casino products include Egyptian GoldTM, Spielo International’s first progressive link using Episodic Gaming. As the player progresses through the game during one session, he or she can save and re-activate their achieved status during the next play session. The player unlocks more features and additional bet options for more action become available. When he or she reaches the highest status, an additional award is randomly revealed by Tutenchamun. Egyptian Gold offers an exciting 5-Level Progressive Playoff, where the player is able to win multiple progressives.

Spielo International’s featured commercial casino systems solutions include ecashTM terminals, with all the options operators need to provide cash convenience to players on the casino floor while reducing staff workload and improving security.

03 Mar 2012

Dot ‘Eu’: full stop and new line

online_giocoTo create a single market for online gaming and poker there is a long and tortuous way, but it has already started. Here are the foundation stones, the opportunities available in the industry. The online gaming has changed, it is still changing, it sloughs again its skin and interesting future scenarios are appearing. The world continues to keep its distance from the origins of online gaming, when only the very great ‘dot com’ networks of poker, betting or online casinos existed, and with a single account they put the players from all over the world face to face.

From Italy to France to Belgium and soon to Spain, all the EU states adapt themselves to a home regulation. However, when individual regulated markets will begin to suffer from a lack of liquidity, because the internal ‘pool’ can also run out and in any case become poor, there is already somebody who aims at a reopening of the borders as a new boost to the market. A complex but possible and surely desirable solution because of some news of recent weeks and because of an already started discussion among member states. Meanwhile the EU with its Green Paper is still tracing a first way, that is surely an early one, as everybody hurries to state, but it is started.

 

In any case when the poker rooms, the online casinos and the whole gaming will have problems, the only solution seems to be the reopening of borders, to knock down the entry and exit barriers. The solution is the harmonization and the homogeneity of rules, which in the web will result in the famous ‘dot eu’.

The concrete signs that announce the future – Italy already foresees the international “pool”: merit of the Betting Exchange?

Carefully reading the text of the decree on ‘Betting Exchange’, a passage seems to contain the still undeveloped chance of the opening to the European “pool”.

The chance exists and it is contained in a specific paragraph of the decree that sets this gaming. However we must then see how these rules will be interpreted and if they will be really applied. The paragraph 2u) of Article 1 of the Directorial Decree with rules for ‘Remote betting with method of direct interaction between the individual players’ says that: ‘Connected platform, platform managing a fixed amount betting service with a direct interaction of players managed by subjects, by virtue of an authorisation issued by a jurisdiction of the European Economic Area, with whom the dealer has agreed the interconnection of the bets, with the approval of AAMS ‘.

The hypothesis is that Betfair.it, currently the only dealership able to put into the field this technology, could then rely on other skin or companies still based in the EU and on jurisdictions recognized by the European Commission.

A niche game, a very complicated one for the inexperienced gambler, and that needs very high movements of money and private ‘banks’ to allow an interesting exchange between players. The liquidity between the only Italians gamblers could limit the game and not allow a suitable development as concern the collection and the incomes for the revenue. Hence the chance that would open new and different scenarios for the online poker and for all the other games and that confirms our starting thesis.

In the meantime the first “dot eu” gaming room was born

We are wondering why PokerStars, the world leader in online poker, obtained a licence by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta (LGA) with the domain ‘dot eu’, with the purpose of protecting the gains of the players coming from European countries but who are forced to pay taxes for incomes coming from rooms with a base outside the EU? A signal that should not be interpreted with an excess of optimism, but that seems to prepare the ground for the next European single market.

Meanwhile PokerStars.eu ‘will run’ on the main hall currently authorized by the Island of Man, using the same pool of international players like the dot.com site that already shares the liquidity of the regulated poker rooms in Belgium, Estonia and Denmark.

As mentioned, there are immediate tax benefits for some European players who pay incredibly high taxes on their online earnings. But PokerStars is preparing the ground and the right conditions to launch the single market of European poker, necessary both for safety reasons and to relaunch the market once that the various regulated countries were to reveal clear collection drops.

PokerStars itself confirmed this trend: “We hope and we expect that the future will bring more certainty and uniformity that will help players and firms. Meanwhile we welcome the recent reports of France, Italy and Spain talking about regulatory cooperation and shared liquidity,” explains Eric Hollreiser, institutional head of the room. But like everybody the manager of PokerStars treats carefully the matter: “To reach unified rules for poker all around the world will be a long and tortuous way”.

Aams-Arjel e Spagna – Italy and France have already signed an agreement of intentions to exchange information between Aams and Arjel, the two gaming Authorities of the respective member states in order to protect consumers and to control possible frauds and to fight unlawfulness. During recent weeks also the unborn Spanish market opened the doors to this kind of cooperation between the States. The umpteeth proof that, even if it is a long and tortuous way, it has already taken the first crucial steps.

 

 

 

 

 

02 Mar 2012

‘Dot it’ casinò games: iSoftBet lives on the ‘Fruit’ of its experience

isoftbetDecades of experience and a portfolio of over 400 games. These are just some of the numbers of iSoftBet, a leading provider of online casino games in all European legal markets and especially in Italy where, as everybody knows, they made their début just last July 18. A market that just over six months has already showed itself a successful one. One of the latest novelties about games is given  by the coming on stage of two characters beloved by the public: Rango and the fabulous leading actress of Basic Instinct! Rango, which made its début at the cinema last year and that soon will enter into our games, is a fearless little chameleon that shows its bravery when the fate catapults him on an adventure like the Wild West, in the town of Dirt. And as concerns Basic Instinct, it doesn’t need any introduction. These two new entries will add a little adventure and sensuality to the online casino games of iSoftBet, that the players certainly will appreciate!

“Our customers became increasingly more demanding and careful to the expectations of its players – Letizia Angelo, iSoftBet key account manager, says – it represents a stimulus for us to continue investing in the Italian market and offering the best of our products and services, in order to give satisfactory answers to these requests. ”

 

The passion and devotion of qualified experts allows iSoftBet to provide a wide range of products: software for online casino, poker and bingo solutions, mobile options, and live gaming. All of them are in conformity with the AAMS regulations, and they can count on reliable payment methods.

“In Italy – Angelo makes known – we have up to 60 certified games and we started a process for    more certifications.” The big novelty that is going to land on the Italian market is the ‘Fruit Boxes – game’, an exciting 15-line game that extends the already wide range of games for the Italian market. Fruit Boxes is an arcade game featuring of 5 columns, 3 rows and 15 lines: the symbols fall from above and are placed in the columns, and in case of a winning bet line, a huge pile of symbols will break out. The symbols of the winning combination first ‘explode’ and then disappear and are replaced with a second avalanche. A game to try without any doubt!

01 Mar 2012

Net Entertainment making waves in Italian market

Net-EntertainmentWhen the regulated Italian market opened up in July last year, Net Entertainment was one of the first online casino providers to enter the market.  Since then, Net Entertainment has continued to gain market share by delivering first-class products in combination with strong customer closeness. Like the majority of operators and gaming suppliers active in the regulated Italian market, Net Entertainment believes that the introduction of video slots will be of great benefit for all involved stakeholders. Introduction of slots will support the Italian online agenda for sustainable growth moving forward, and by its introduction players will be able to enjoy a more diverse gaming experience.  Björn Krantz, Acting President and Ceo of Net Entertainment comments “It is our ambition to launch slots as soon as the Italian authority allows it and we have an organizational readiness for such a launch”.

To support its strategy for growth and local market penetration important investments have been made by Net Entertainment, which also will continue. Moreover, the effective collaboration with Aams, via the operators that run Net Entertainment Casino, has been another important factor of success.

 

Providing the ultimate gaming experience every time you introduce a new game to the market is of key importance for a market leader such as Net Entertainment. Björn Krantz summed up the passion which the company has for its products: “We aim to produce the most innovative, and creative games in the world and strive for nothing less than portfolio excellence in combination with technology leadership.”

10 Feb 2012

Spielo International plays three of a kind

bugno2London – After the winning pair, the Lottomatica Group plays three of a kind. Nearly one year from the merger of the two prestigious brands SPIELO and ATRONIC that created SPIELO International, now the third gem of the family joins the group: it is G2, the leading company in the online field.

“With this  latest addition to SPIELO International we will be able to offer complete gaming solutions to all operators, covering every gaming field  – whether it is AWP,  VLTs, casino games or online gaming,” says Walter Bugno, President and CEO of SPIELO International.

 

“What players want more and more today is to have the flexibility to play anywhere, anytime and on any kind of device. From home or at any place with a mobile device as well as in gaming halls and in other dedicated places. Now our company will be able to offer to its customers the ideal solution to this multiple request by providing top performing games and the necessary technology. “

In fact, as SPIELO and ATRONIC are leading brands in the VLT, casino, and AWP fields, also G2 is in a top position in the online gaming market: “G2 is the undisputed leader in sports betting and online casino games and the evident example for the latter is Italy with the great success of the online games on the platform owned by the group, developed by Boss Media. A success that we are ready to repeat with other concessionaires.”

Is SPIELO International looking into further development and new business opportunities? “Of course. Just think of, for example, Italy where the VLT market has shown tremendous success  and is still completing its first phase with about 57.000 installations and it could also lead to a ‘phase two’. There are many other emerging markets where new regulations are being discussed such as Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine and other countries who are considering VLT. Furthermore Spain, with its online gaming market. “

What happens in the casino field? “The industry has been suffering from a decline in recent years that still persists. The situation for casinos has become more difficult – however, they still need to continue to invest in their gaming offering because if not, they   risk losing their customers. I must say I was pleased to notice little signs of recovery though as we ended this last London show with an increase of sales of approx. 20 percent compared to last year.”

08 Feb 2012

The casinos make a date in London and confirm the Eca board

goudsmitronMembers of the European Casino Association (Eca) met in London on 24 January 2012 for the association’s General Assembly. The Eca General Assembly 2012 was attended by Eca members from 22 countries who met to discuss key industry topics including recent and upcoming gambling regulatory and policy developments at EU level. 2011 proved a very busy and exciting year with publication of both the European Commission Green Paper as well as the European Parliament Report on online gambling. The Eca continually provided input, ensuring the voice of Europe’s legal gaming industry was heard. Over the course of 2012, the association will carefully monitor progress of Eu policy development in anticipation of the European Commission’s Communication on gambling expected later this year.

At the General Assembly, reports were also given on progress made in the Eca’s five Working Groups, in which Eca members participate on a voluntary basis to focus on a range of industry-relevant topics, ranging from the Eca Slot Summits (the first of which is to be held in Hanover, Germany on 20-22 March 2012) through to corporate social responsibility and responsible gaming and prevention of illegal gambling activities and money laundering.

 

Board elections were held with six out of seven board seats up for election as set out in the association’s statutes. Members elected Guido Berghmans from Luxemburg, Bruno Cagnon from France, Heliodoro Giner from Spain, Ron Goudsmit from The Netherlands, Matthias Hein from Germany and Dietmar Hoscher from Austria to the Eca board and confirmed the re-appointment of Ron Goudsmit as Chairman and Guido Berghmans as the Vice Chairman of the association. On the contrary th0e Italian Carlo Pagan, CEO of the Casino di Campione and president of Federgioco, was not competing, because he joined the Eca board last June (at the Summer Meeting held in Campione d ‘Italia) so its three-year term will expire in June 2014.

Ron Goudsmit, Chairman of the Eca, congratulated the Working Groups on the progress made: “Thanks to the commitment and proactive efforts of our members, it has been a highly productive year. In 2012, we will continue to promote Eca objectives, using our highly effective information network to contribute to consultations and represent industry interests at European level.”

Eca will promote a lot of the next events: in addition to the mentioned slot Summit, that will take place in April in Helsinki, Finland, the European Croupier Championship (and this time, differently from the past year, also an Italian team will compete), while the Summer Meeting 2012 will have Nova Gorica, Slovenia as location in June.

 

20 Jan 2012

Europe united by equal opportunities

AnnetteKokAgainst unfair competition and equal opportunities between operators. This is the European recipe from the Euromat’s leader, Annette Kok, like she explained in an interview granted to Gioco News Politically, 2011 was a very important year for the European gaming market in large part due to the interest of Commissioner Barnier. Do you feel important results were achieved?

 

 

 

“Indeed, 2011 has been a very important but also quite challenging year for the European gaming industry. As you know, the political discussion around our industry was essentially initiated at the European level by the publication of the long-awaited European Commission’s Green Paper on Online Gambling in the Internal Market at the end of March. But, very important was also the European Parliament’s resolution adopted by the whole of the European Parliament last November. In Euromat we certainly welcomed the arrival of both initiatives and our Federation has been working particularly hard to ensure that the interests’ of the land-based gambling sector were taken into account in this debate. The legal gambling market, and in particular the highly regulated and highly taxed land-based sector, is currently exposed to an unbearable degree of illegal cross-border competition from online gambling operators that are providing their services without a licence, without paying taxes and without meeting any sort of minimum regulatory requirements to ensure a proper consumer protection. It was necessary to have an open debate about how to address this problem in order to effectively regulate this part of the market. Important results have undeniably been achieved, but the work is far from being done. Member States still need to find a way to ensure a proper enforcement of rules for the online gambling sector and ultimately achieve a level playing field across the gambling arena to guarantee the commercial viability of the land-based gambling sector, which -we must not forget- is an important part of any national economy and a major contributor to a state’s revenues”.

 

Do you believe that a Green Paper on land-based gambling could be envisioned for the future?

“There is absolutely no need for any sort of ‘EU’ action when it comes to the land-based gambling sector. We should not forget that gambling is a field in which there are significant social and cultural specificities and which is therefore, and rightfully so, regulated at national level. It is important to respect the principle of subsidiarity, as Member States are unquestionably in a better position to regulate their own gambling markets. In fact, the land-based gambling sector is already a highly regulated, highly taxed sector with strict requirements when it comes to consumer protection. For more than 30 years our industry has proven that it is possible to effectively operate and collaborate within national regulatory frameworks, while guaranteeing the protection of our consumers. Hence, without the cross-border element, that is obvious in the online sector, there is not really any added value from an EU approach. Fortunately enough, the EU institutions seem to clearly understand and support this view”.

Which are the most critical issues that remain to be resolved?

“As I mentioned before, it is necessary to tackle the illegal cross-border competition from online gambling operators. For this, national regulators need to ensure proper enforcement of rules for the online gambling sector. Amongst other things, because the online gambling sector, if not properly regulated, may involve a greater risk of addiction than traditional physical, location based-gambling. Therefore, any eventual legislative exercise concerning online gambling must apply responsible gambling principles in order to guarantee an adequate level of consumer protection. Measures to combat other problems, such as fraud and money laundering are also essential. We also need to make something very clear: online gambling is nothing but the most recent method through which already existing gambling services are distributed. Our members can no longer compete under such unfair circumstances. If this situation persists it will unfortunately be consequently also in detriment of national economies”.

Do you foresee opportunites for growth in the European gambling market?

“People love to gamble. It’s one of the oldest forms of entertainment and it will continue to exist. However, we are living extremely difficult financial times and this will consequently reflect in more limited growth opportunities for the gambling market. In times when developed countries are struggling to overcome the financial crisis, people are also more aware -and careful- with the way they spend their money. Gambling will certainly not be one of their priorities when allocating their household budgets. On top of things, the land-based gambling sector has another challenge. In order to actually foster any potential growth for our industry, it is necessary to ensure parity of rules for all gambling services providers. Without a fair and adequate taxation regime and without ensuring that all operators meet the same regulatory requirements, and that these requirements are properly enforced, it will not be possible for many in the land-based gambling sector to survive”.

What is your impression regarding the Italian gaming market from an outsider’s perspective?

“The Italian gaming market is one of the largest markets in Europe. I understand the Aams, the Italian regulator, is working hard to set clear rules and achieve maximum transparency. Euromat is one of the chief advocates of responsible gambling and we believe that the responsibility to create and adopt effective programmes directed at the protection of consumers lies firstly with the gambling industry but should be a joint effort with national and local regulators, other stakeholders and the customers. We therefore are supportive of the fact that the Aams has put legal and responsible gaming, as well as the fight against illegal gambling, at the core of its strategy. Moreover, the Italian authorities are being quite succesful in their fight against unlawful internet gambling. It is the European Commission’s aim to strenghten the cooperation between national regulators. Italy should certainly be taken as an example of best practices and succesful enforcement of rules”.

20 Jan 2012

Europe united from gaming

europaWhat happens in Europe? A lot of people is asking for this question during last months. The economic and financial crisis has significantly shaken the European Union and it induced the main Countries that are part of it to challenge its role and, even, the reasons for its existence. But the operators of the “gambling” field – as this economic field is internationally identified – are wondering the same, now that the EU commission carried out the matter of the Community regulation (or, at least, of a concerted action) through the Green Paper wanted by Michel Barnier, the Commissioner for the Internal Market. Despite in a similar political context is clearly difficult to talk about any structural reform or only about a mere political action not linked to the present urgencies, the online gaming found the (first) answers, through the introduction by the European Parliament of the report of the German Deputy Jurgen Creutzmann that fixes the basic principles to develop the dialogue in the Commission.

This is a significan step forward with a widespread success. There is only one limit: the mono-referentiality, according to what Eduardo Antoja affirms, an international gaming expert and honorary president of the Euromat association, that represents the operators of the “terrestrial” gaming in Europe: “We obtained an encouraging result at the European parliament, where at least we are discussing the subject of the gaming and its regulation – he states – but at the same time I think that we are making a big mistake because we are only talking about the online gaming, to the point that during last months it seems that only this king of gaming exists that, on the contrary, it only represents 10% of the global market. So we are forgetting the needs of the “terrestrial” market although it represents 90% of the field and so it is the greatest  bearer of revenues and employment. Not to mention, then, that in most Member States the physical gaming would need some interventions”. The Spanish man, now engaged in his land just for the regulation of the online gaming in his Country, he has clear ideas about what we would need in Europe: “I am sure that the big subject to face in Europe is the one of the international taxation, looking for uniformity. If first we don’t face this aspect, we can never find any solution for our field.  And we can not even think to face the subject”.

 

If the industry, as mentioned, is not sure about the international discussion we are facing about the subject of the online gaming, the “political” vision about this subject is different. As Christel Schaldemose, Danish member of the European parliament, explains to Gioco News – the first one to bring the subject of gaming and of the consumer protection to the attention of the Parliament three years ago with its own resolution – the Green Paper and the Creutzmann report are very important documents:

“The report is the result of a broad compromise between the political groups and between different views on the online gambling sector, especially if we should have a directive on this issue or not. I think that it was a good result that the vote underlined, that a directive for the online gambling sector is not a priority compared to other political instruments”. A clear message has been sent to the Commission for the forthcoming work on the issue of online gambling that meets the expectations of the Danish: “I think it is important that the Commission is aware and working on the issues of consumer protection in regards to online gambling. I’m satisfied that the Commission has not focused on a online gambling directive as the sole solution for the issues on the sector”.

“The main focus is to make sure that the member states – in the future – will be able to regulate the online gambling sector themselves. Only by national regulation on online gambling, we can make sure that consumer protection is safeguarded”, says Schaldemose.

Although at the European level, we must see what the future of all concerned after the reversal of British Prime Minister Cameron and the United Kingdom: “I think it is too early to comment on the way the European Union is heading. We need to see how the discussions in the Council ends. But I am certain that a united Europe with as many countries as possible involved is the best solution”.